Marc David is a veteran journalist whose writing career spans three decades, during which time he has covered the sports spectrum from heavyweight boxing champions to the Olympics. Throughout his career, he has managed to run every day....a streak stretching over 33 years!
Marc doesn’t just love running… he is literally addicted to it and has written a book to share his experiences: The Addicted Runner.
If you ever find excuses not to run (when you know you should) you will be inspired by Marc’s post for Rundamentalists.
So, you want to be an addicted runner?
No, you don’t. Trust me! Let me explain without offering any excuses for one who has run every single day for more than 33 years. That is a minimum of two miles daily without once using a treadmill. It is a “streak” I share with runners I meet, not online to gain notoriety. The streak is important to me for one reason only – What greater gift is there than good health and what better way to prove it than to be able to run continuously for 33-plus years?
Perhaps the first question readers want to know is “where do you live that you can run every day?” The answer is I reside in Scottsdale, Arizona, where we don’t get any snow or ice storms like those experienced by Chicagoland runners (temps. were in the high 110s, however, in mid-June). I didn’t leave my home state of Pennsylvania until I was more than 15 years into my streak. Thus, I experienced the high humidity, the heavy rain, the blowing snow and icy conditions that many Illinois runners have. And I have run in places and under conditions where few could imagine doing so. More on that later.
So, what keeps an “addicted” runner going? Not an easy answer since I sometimes wonder why I ever started in the first place. At this juncture in life, running is the fulcrum of my everyday existence. Really! I cannot start a day without running in the morning, even when another run is scheduled for later in the day.
During a recent visit to the Midwest where I met with the Evanston Running Club as well others from three Wisconsin running clubs, I had one stretch when I ran 10 times in seven days. Not once did I dread my run, although I wasn’t especially thrilled the morning in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, when I awoke to 43 degrees and a wind chill of 36 degrees – sans sweatpants. B-r-r-r!
Let’s start with the mental aspect of running, and believe me this is as important as your physical prowess – perhaps even more so. In my case, physical prowess is limited. That is one reason why I turned to distance running. Can you think of a better way to mask one’s slow-ness?
Seriously, the best aspect of running is challenging one’s self. Set realistic goals and see them through. Don’t view yourself through the success or failure of others. Make running your best friend as many of us have already. Running is so much a part of my every day existence that it feels natural for me to awaken in the morning and get outside before my first cup of coffee. I really need my morning run to kickstart my day.
More proof that running is so deeply ingrained in me – I have never used a Walkman or any listening device while running. During my times on the road, my thoughts run between what I have scheduled that day and issues that are important to me. Sometimes it is merely enjoying the beauty of my surroundings – yes, I find beauty in the desert.
That is true even during those less conventional spots where I have run. Earlier this year, I ran three miles early in the morning at the airport in Lisbon, Portugal. I wouldn’t call that a “relaxed” run, rather getting my daily fix. Sure, I got quizzical looks from other travelers. But hey, a man has got to do what he’s got to do – in this case, feed his addiction.
There was another morning when I had a 5:50 a.m. flight scheduled. I woke up at 2:30 and ran three miles. Running in the dark is nothing new to me. Why? It is who I am. I don’t run from it. I embrace it.
During my get-togethers with running groups throughout the country, I am often asked about some of the most unusual circumstances during which I ran. Too many to mention but I’ll throw a few out there.
Many years ago, I had all four wisdom teeth pulled the same day. The next day I ran 3 miles. I can honestly report that I don’t ever remember feeling more pain than I did the following day. Think about the jarring your mouth takes while running. The pain was immeasurable. This was one of the very few times when I couldn’t wait for the run to end. To say there is no wisdom running after having your teeth pulled is an understatement. And to think some have called me a wise guy.
Next on the “no-sense” scale came one December day in Arkansas in the late 1990s. I woke up one to a light rain outside. No big deal. I have often run in heavy rain. However, I had never run when the temperature was 19 degrees Fahrenheit and raining. Yes, I spent plenty of time on my butt during that run. I am not certain I could have stayed upright with skates. Not that I wanted to try. But I was determined to get a 3-mile run (slide?) accomplished. By the end of the “run” I was more marked up than if I had gone a couple of rounds with a young Muhammad Ali. Obviously, brain freeze wasn’t my only affliction that day.
One more example takes me back to the day when I swore I would leave the Northeast as soon as possible. It had snowed all night. Gray skies greeted me when I awakened. The official count was just short of 3 feet. Work was a little more than 2 miles away and I was determined to make it even if I was the only one (I was). All major roads were closed to traffic with the exception of National Guard vehicles. Even with boots, running in 3 feet of snow is nearly impossible. I made it to the main road and waited a few minutes before a plow truck passed. I followed the truck’s tracks and remained upright as long as I didn’t veer off the road. And, no snow job here, I made it to work (and ran in the facility the next two days in my stocking feet).
Now you can see why 100-plus-degree heat doesn’t both me (much). It may slow me but it won’t stop the addicted runner from continue to streak forward.
It has never been about the streak. It is about the addiction. The Addicted Runner is who I am and who I will remain as long as my health allows it.
And now it’s time for a run.